Videos withheld from Rushing family in suit? Young K9 deputy, not Chico PD brass, devised fatal siege

photo courtesy of Rushing family

Tyler Rushing

by Dave Waddell

Billy Aldridge, now second in command at the Chico Police Department, seems to have stood on the sidelines four years ago while underlings rammed into a downtown restroom and, 42 seconds later, shot Tyler Rushing to his death.

Aldridge, then a lieutenant and now Chico’s police commander, became vocal after the shooting, ordering several officers who witnessed the incident to quit talkin and directing another to turn off his body-worn camera.

Those details and numerous other facts not previously disclosed by authorities are coming to light following the release to this reporter — under threat of a lawsuit — of videotaped officer interviews. However, both Chico Police Chief Matt Madden and Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey have refused to release reams of investigative reports about the Rushing case, as well as about other recent officer-involved killings by Chico PD, including the deaths of Desmond Phillips in 2017 and Stephen Vest in 2020. read more

“Crimes against humanity” underway in police killings George Gold: Reform must proceed

Reform advocate George Gold

by George Gold
guest commentary

We live in unprecedented times. Pandemic. Impeachment. Insurrection. Police across the United States killing American citizens, repeatedly.

In Chico, the killings must be properly named: Desmond Phillips, Tyler Rushing, Stephen Vest. According to the United Nations, crimes against humanity are defined as “… certain acts that are purposely committed as part of a widespread or systematic policy, directed against civilians, in times of war or peace.”

These days, with so many opportunities, people often say, I want justice for Desmond, or justice for Tyler, or justice for Stephen, but rather than some sort of homily of sorrow or regret, justice will be served when we have change. The Chico Police Department must change its tactics, its operating procedures, its mindset, its culture, its behavior. Stephen Vest was shot and killed by Chico police eight seconds after they arrived on the scene; he was shot 11 times. read more

Police expert: Excessive shots by Chico officer Vest, when down, shot twice in back, and in back of neck

photo from “The Daily Show”
Former police officer and use-of-force expert Seth Stoughton interviewed by television host Trevor Noah.

by Dave Waddell

An ex-cop who researches police use-of-force issues says an excessive number of shots were fired by Chico police officer Tyler Johnson in his October killing of Stephen Vest.

At a Jan. 14 media briefing, Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey ruled that Johnson, who fired nine shots, and police Sgt. Nick Bauer, who shot twice, were justified in killing Vest and would face no criminal charges. Vest, 30, was in a meth-fueled mental crisis and holding a knife when shot.

Vest was hit by a total of eight police bullets, including six rounds from Johnson’s 9mm Glock. Johnson shot Vest twice in the chest, once in the shoulder, twice in the back, and once in the back of the neck. Video from Johnson’s body-worn camera indicates the neck shot came when Vest was on his knees, head bowed, falling forward. The barrage of bullets ended with two final rounds into Vest’s back as his midsection touched the asphalt. read more

Third anniversary of Rushing killing observed Family files quick appeal after lawsuit tossed in federal court

photo by Dave Waddell

by Dave Waddell

Scott Rushing, wearing his only son’s blue polo work shirt, had a question Thursday evening for two dozen people attending a sidewalk vigil on the third anniversary of Tyler Rushing’s death.

How many people have Chico police killed since Tyler died on a bloody bathroom floor inside a title company on July 23, 2017? The answer, as many in the group knew, is zero.

“Is that a coincidence? I don’t think so. … I believe we’ve saved lives,” Rushing said of the activism that followed the killings of his son and Desmond Phillips, a young Black man in mental crisis who was gunned down by Chico police on March 17, 2017. read more

Jan. 1 event set for Desmond Phillips, AB392 Chico PD victim’s life, new state law to be celebrated

Desmond Phillips

by Dave Waddell

A celebration to both remember the life of Desmond Phillips and to ring in a new state law governing police killings will be held on the first day of 2020.

The Jan. 1 potluck will include music and speakers and be held from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Faith Lutheran Church of Chico, 667 E. First Ave. The public is encouraged to participate by the sponsoring Justice for Desmond Phillips group, said David Phillips, Desmond’s father.

Desmond Phillips, a 25-year-old black and Miwok Native man in mental crisis, was shot 11 times in his own living room by Chico police officers Alex Fliehr and Jeremy Gagnebin on March 17, 2017, just seconds after they entered the residence. Phillips was born on the first day of 1992, and, had he lived, would be turning 28 on Jan. 1. read more

County releases Micalizio documents ChicoSol requests officers' records under SB 1421

Myra Micalizio (left) with her daughter, Hali McKelvie.

by Leslie Layton

In July 2018, a Sacramento civil rights attorney noted just how much information had been withheld in the shooting by Butte County sheriff’s deputies three months earlier that had killed a Palermo woman.

Myra Micalizio, 56, died in April of that year during an encounter with a pair of deputies who together fired 13 rounds. Attorney Mark Merin, representing Micalizio’s family, issued a press release noting that Butte County had “refused to produce any interviews, investigation reports… statements of the officers, coroner’s report…” read more